Love is a Losing Game

What’s below is a linear story that is vaguely canon. The most important non-canon aspect is that the GoM came about when they were in high school, and the canonical timeline begins when they are in university.

Featuring: Aomine & Kise, Kagami & Kuroko, et al. (Himuro may appear later in a possibly never to be written part two that focuses on Kagami and Kuroko. However, I don’t really ship KagaKuro, so it really may never come to pass. ) I encourage you to hum along with Amy Winehouse while you read this.


Love is a Losing GameEven though Aomine was the person that got Kise interested in basketball, out of all the GoM, Kise was closest to Kuroko. When it came out that Kuroko and Aomine were dating, the group of all-stars were divided in their reception to the news. Akashi felt it would work to their advantage; if they were more conscious of each other they’d definitely be able to connect more skillfully on the court, eventually developing the ability to communicate in a manner undetectable even to himself. Midorima was against it because the level of compatibility between their signs wasn’t enough to compensate for any considerations the team might have to make on their behalf. Murasakibara didn’t really care, but if he had to choose, he figured whatever Akashi thought would be good enough. Momoi never made her thoughts known, but most suspected she was against it for reasons unrelated to the team. Kise was the only member to support their relationship wholeheartedly; if his mentor and his friend could find happiness together, then he was happy for them.

Although Aomine’s interest in Kise was purely selfish, only wanting someone to keep him occupied on the court, Kise didn’t let that get in the way of him treating Aomine the way he would treat any close friend. Now that Kuroko and Aomine were together, always together, Kise no longer had to figure out how to schedule his time between the two. As time passed, it became a rare occasion to see either of the three without the other two.

By the time the week before their high school graduation arrived, a lot of things had changed. Kuroko decided to end things with Aomine because they no longer saw eye-to-eye on what Kuroko considered important things. Aomine didn’t take it too well, but was more upset that Kuroko decided to go to a different university. Kise was going to a different university as well, but he seemed to be the only one who cared. He was at a loss when he found out that Kuroko and Aomine were no more. He had always cheered them on, but much to his surprise and regret, somewhere along the way he fell in love with Aomine. It pained him to think that his honest feelings were a betrayal to the two people he cared about the most.

A couple weeks before university practices began, Aomine met someone that he thought he clicked with. They spent a lot of time talking ball in and out of bed, but life got busy before they ever got around to discussing the universities they were going to attend. The other guy was too busy getting reacclimated with life in Japan and getting ready for university to make any kind of long-term commitments. Aomine was as busy as well, but he did wish that he could see the guy on occasion, at least. He made a few attempts to hook up, but for one reason or another their plans always fell through. They quickly lost touch.

After uni started Kuroko met a guy named Kagami at basketball try-outs. They were drawn to each other and it wasn’t long before they were training on and off the court.

Aomine ran into Akashi who told him that Kuroko was dating someone on his new team. Aomine brushed it off, but Akashi gave him a look that said “you should care.” He still didn’t take heed.

By the time Aomine finally saw Kuroko again, the universities were well into their schedule of scrimmages. Even from where he stood, Aomine could see the connection his ex had with his new Light; it reflected clear as day in the gleaming parquet for all the spectators to see. He felt a twinge of regret that he let Kuroko go so easily, but once he saw who the guy towering over Kuroko was, he felt like he had been set up for a prank that had somehow turned fatal. Standing there, swirling a towel around the neck and brow of the former sixth man was none other than his 3-night stand, Kagami.

A voice from behind snarked, “Geez, it’s only half-time, what are you so tense for? You already know his team is going to win, especially with the streak they’ve been on.”

When Momoi didn’t get a response she followed Aomine’s line of sight. She flinched at the sight. Ooooh. Those idiots! Why the hell are they flirting right out in the open like that? And he’s even smiling?! She took a deep breath and exhaled, “heh heh, Dai-chan, uh since… since we already know whose going to win, why don’t we head to practice early?” The scene across the gym caught her completely off-guard, so it was all she could manage in an attempt to stave off the bloodshed for the time being.

While still staring ahead with all of the intensity it takes to bend a steel rod, Aomine acknowledged Momoi’s motives and grunted, “You knew?!”

During the next few days of practice, Aomine played with reckless abandon, scaring his teammates in the process. Although they usually left him to his own devices, the coach thought his behavior was completely out of order and sent him to find another court to practice on until their next pre-season game.

For the first two days he just practiced to the point of exhaustion. During one of his breathers on the third day he noticed a text from Kise; he was going on about some photo shoot nonsense. As usual, he just ignored it. The next day and the day after Kise sent more annoying texts. Aomine continued to ignore them as he tried to practice away his anger. On his way home from the fifth day’s practice, he stopped in a convenience store where he saw Kise on the cover of a fashion mag the clerk was stocking. There he stood in all his idiocy with three half-naked women draped over him. Aomine pulled out his phone and sent a one-word text: Hey.

Kise was talking to his captain when the text came through, so he didn’t check it until Kasamatsu had said his piece. He didn’t want his phone to be broken again since Kasamatsu always said something about leaving the outside world where it belonged, because withing these walls, the only thing that exists is basketball. When Kise finally saw the most recent message, his phone almost broke anyway when he dropped it. It had been 390 days since Aomine last sent him a text and it had been 423 days since Aomine sent him something other than “you’re annoying” or “shut up!” For a while Kise didn’t know what to do. Forty-five minutes later he replied with his own one-word text: Aominecchi?

Aomine didn’t have the patience to text back and forth, so he called him.

“Aominecchi! I’m so happy you called me! It’s been a wh–”

“Yeah. Yeah. Kise. I want to meet the girl on the left. You pick the place, just let me know when.” Click.

Kise stood dumbstruck and more broken-hearted than he’d ever felt all the times he watched Aomine and Kuroko steal moments with each other throughout the day. It wasn’t the first time Aomine used Kise as a way to meet a girl, but it never happened quite like this. He couldn’t even cry, so he laughed instead.

Kise was already at the club with all three of the girls from the cover that caught Aomine’s eye. He thought that this might be a good way to finally get over the guy that he’d been chasing after for so many years.

At first everything was going well, but about an hour in the atmosphere changed. Not that Aomine drank a lot or really much at all, but Kise knew that it would take more than 3 glasses to affect Aomine and yet, he wasn’t himself. First it was a smart remark here and an eyebrow-raising joke there, but it quickly mounted to the point where Aomine was outright insulting and harassing the women. But even with all of that, Kise noticed that his most cutting remarks were saved for the server who kind of resembled a fair-haired former schoolmate.

Kise tried to laugh it off with, “Aominecchi, what exactly did you order to drink?” When that did work, he tried, “Maybe you should save that kind of humor for the locker room, Aominecchi. There are ladies present.” But when Aomine pushed the redheaded girl up against the server, Kise knew that words alone would not do. “Aomine!” Kise demanded as his arm stretched toward his friend’s collar, “What in the world do you think you’re doing?! Pull yourself together!”

Kise returned to the booth after situating the girls in a taxi and making several apologies to the server and the club manager. “Get up!” Kise snarled. “Let’s go!”Aomine looked up hoping to see the bright eyes of his one-on-one partner, but all he could see was the back of his head and the tense shoulders that sat below it. He was still too angry and stubborn to feel sorry or embarrassed, so he just growled his way out of the booth and into the night. The way Aomine was, Kise thought the slightest thing would stir him up, so he told him that he should stay at his place since it was only 10 blocks away.

Trying to bring some semblance of calm back to the air between them, Kise started, “Aominecchi, I’m not sure who or what you’re mad at, but wouldn’t it be better if you at least tried to talk about it? I know I’m the last person you’d think of confiding in, but… I’m here.”

“Shut up, Kise! Don’t try to feed me that psycho-babble-tell-me-about-your-feelings crap!

Kise hesitated; he didn’t want to exacerbate the situation, but he felt he couldn’t back down now. He eventually managed to shaped his mouth to say, “I get it, but it’s not like they’re doing it just to piss you off–Uht!” Kise gasped a little as he realized that Aomine could readily infer from his last statement that he did, in fact, know who or what he was mad at.

“What?! What do you know?!” Aomine barked.

“With a voice weighted by self-reproach, Kise said, “No matter how much we want something, we can’t always get it. That goes double for the times when we never made any kind of effort to get it.” Kise paused to gather his courage. “Heh, heh. I should know… It’s not like they’re being happy to spite you.” Seeing that he kind of had Aomine’s ear, Kise continued, “Sometimes the best way to come to terms with not getting what you want is to be happy for those who did.”

Kise first thought that he managed to calm Aomine, but he nearly jumped out of his skin when he heard…

“ARRRRRGUUUUHH!” Aomine’s roar propelled him to his feet and even before they were both firmly planted, he was closing the distance between himself and Kise who was now visibly uncomfortable. “Seriously! What. Do. You. Know?” Aomine’s words dropping in sync with the index finger he was jabbing into Kise’s chest. “You flit around constantly with your Kurokocchi’s and your Midorimacchi’s and your silly photo shoots and your touchy-feely BS!”

Kise was scared and could only try to make himself smaller in the corner Aomine had literally backed him into. His body went rigid when he felt Aomine’s searing heat close around his neck. Kise tried to tell him to let go, but each time he inhaled, Aomine’s thumb seemed to press further and further into the soft flesh protecting the area behind his chin.

Aomine persisted. “For all of the damn I-love-you’s you seem to sprinkle every fuckin’ place you go, I’ve never seen you get too close to anyone. Chicks, guys, aunties, and puppies, to me it looks like everyone gets the same bullshit “I love you.” You never treat anyone differently. So how can you know what it feels like to have someone special? If there’s a move you like on the court, all it takes is one look and it’s yours. So how can you even begin to know what it’s like to not get what you want? Huh, Kise?”

Kise knew he meant relatively little to Aomine, but he wanted to try to reach him somehow. He was desperate and he knew that no matter what he did next, it would end up hurting both of them.

Kise’s movements were so swift that Aomine didn’t realize that he had taken a knee to the gut until he found himself on the floor gasping for air. When he finally opened his eyes, through his blurred vision, he saw a red-faced Kise mere inches away from his face. As he was about to yell at Kise to get off him, his open mouth met another. Kise’s kiss full of longing, pain, and million other emotions Aomine couldn’t comprehend took away what little breath he had recovered. Before his mind finally focused, he couldn’t hear Kise sniffling, but he could feel the pulsations from the boy’s torso on top of his own.

Kise took a deep breath and, even more to Aomine’s consternation than what had already transpired, screamed, “LIAR! Aominecchi is a liar!” Simultaneously returning the favor, Kise poked in time as he questioned, “What. Do. You. Know?!”

Aomine, his loss of breath exceeding what he had first surmised, just laid there looking back at this never before witnessed version of Kise Ryouta.

“How can you know what it’s like to hold anything close? Basketball wasn’t challenging or igniting your passion anymore, so you all but let it go. Your brilliance faded a bit in Kurokocchi’s eyes, so you let him go. Kagami couldn’t make time for you when you wanted, so you let him go as well. All these things you relinquished so easily. For you, it’s not even about getting or not getting what you want because the truth is, you don’t want anything.”

“Tetsu left me!” Aomine refuted.

“So what?!” Kise spat. If you loved him, if you wanted him, you would have fought for him! But you didn’t, did you? Did you?!”

“Whatever. I still don’t see how that makes us any differ–”

Kise muzzled Aomine’s dismissal with another kiss. It wasn’t as deep this time, but when he finished, he was just where he wanted to be when he said what he wanted to say next. As he held Aomine’s face and his was barely a whole centimeter away, he cried. Aomine’s eyes stung from Kise’s tears as he heard him say, “I cheered you and Kurokocchi on. I tried to challenge you, keep you interested in the game. I did all this while holding my feelings for you close! Never letting it slip that I was in love with you. Never wanting to trouble you. Never wanting to betray either of you. Never doing anything other than trying my damnedest to be a real friend. And… that’s why we are different, Aominecchi. You didn’t fight because you didn’t care. I didn’t fight because I did. Or you might even say that I fought for you even when you wouldn’t. Either way, we both lost.”


[So that’s it for now.]

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